Tanzania Deploys Troops to Eastern DRC, Intensifying Efforts Against M23 Rebels

Goma, January 26, 2024 – In a move demonstrating regional solidarity and commitment to peace, Tanzania has now joined the military efforts in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This deployment follows South Africa’s involvement, marking a significant escalation in the regional response to the armed conflict in the area, particularly against the M23 rebel group.

Tanzanian forces have been assigned a strategic role, taking over the defense of zones previously secured by Burundian troops of the East African Community (EAC) along the Sake-Masisi axis. This strategic repositioning underscores Tanzania’s commitment to the region’s stability and the restoration of peace.

The Tanzanian contingent includes special combat operators and long-range heavy artillery units, reminiscent of their crucial contribution to the 2013 defeat of M23 rebels. Their expertise in warfare and operational experience are expected to be pivotal in the current conflict scenario.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) had previously announced the deployment of the SADC Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (SAMIDRC) on December 15, 2023. This mission, sanctioned at the SADC Summit in Windhoek, Namibia, on May 8, 2023, aims to support the DRC government in addressing the rising conflicts and instability in the region, largely attributed to the resurgence of armed groups.

Further reinforcing the regional military presence, over 200 South African soldiers arrived at Goma Airport in North Kivu on December 27, 2023. These deployments are part of a larger plan by SADC, intending to station approximately 7,000 soldiers in the DRC. The primary objective of this mission is to confront and defeat the M23 rebels within a 12-month timeframe.

The commanders of these troops have clearly articulated their mission: to decisively end the activities of armed groups in the eastern DRC, with an initial focus on neutralizing the M23 rebels.